Canadian Biomass Magazine

Renewables becoming competitive, IEA

November 23, 2011
By Scott Jamieson

23 November 2011, Paris - Renewables are now the fastest-growing sector in the energy mix and offer great potential to address issues of energy security and sustainability, but their rapid deployment is also bringing a host of challenges, according to a new book from the International Energy Agency.

Released today, it provides guidance for policy makers and other stakeholders to avoid past mistakes, overcome new challenges and reap the benefits of deploying renewables – today and tomorrow.

The new book, Deploying Renewables 2011: Best and Future Policy Practice,
analyses the recent successes in renewable energy, which now accounts
for almost a fifth of all electricity produced worldwide, and addresses
how countries can best capitalise on that growth to realise a
sustainable energy future.

In launching the book, IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said deployment of renewable energy must be stepped up
– especially given the world’s increasing appetite for energy and the
need to meet this demand more efficiently and with low-carbon energy

"As the IEA’s analysis has shown, without an urgent and radical change of policy direction, the world will lock itself into an insecure, inefficient and high-carbon energy system,"
Ms. Van der Hoeven said. "Renewables already play a central role in
fostering sustainability and energy security, and their significance
will only grow in the coming decades. Against this backdrop, Deploying Renewables 2011 provides a major review of renewable energy markets and policies at this critical juncture."


New challenges have come to the fore:
Growth in renewable energy has so far focused on just a few of the
available technologies, and rapid deployment is confined to a relatively
small number of countries. In more advanced markets, managing support
costs and system integration of large shares of renewable energy in a
time of economic weakness and budget austerity has sparked vigorous
political debate.

The new IEA book builds on and extends a 2008
publication, drawing in recent policy and deployment experience
worldwide. It also:

  • Provides a comprehensive review and analysis of renewable energy policy and market trends
  • Analyses in detail the dynamics of deployment and provides best-practice policy principles for different stages of market maturity
  • Assesses the impact and cost-effectiveness of support policies using new methodological tools and indicators
  • Investigates the strategic reasons underpinning the pursuit of RE deployment by different countries and the prospects for globalisation of RE

This publication provides a summary of the analysis. More details are available in three associated IEA information papers – Renewable Energy: Markets and Prospects by Region, Renewable Energy: Markets and Prospects by Technology and Renewable Energy: Policy Considerations for Deploying Renewables – available also via the IEA website,

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